The US Is Proposing a New Ceasefire Deal and Hamas Is Not Happy With It

AP Photo/Yousef Masoud

There were negotiations taking place in Cairo on Sunday. The head of the CIA, Bill Burns, met with the head of Israel's Mossad and intermediaries from Qatar and Egypt. He proposed a new deal which would grant Hamas a six week ceasefire in exchange for a portion of the remaining Israeli hostages.


The Israeli officials said Burns laid out a proposal that builds on terms discussed during previous negotiations in March. It asks additional for compromises from both parties, an Israeli official said...

A key issue in the new proposal concerns Israel's demand that Hamas release 40 hostages who are alive, even if some of them do not meet the original criteria for release on humanitarian grounds, two senior Israeli officials said.

So the story here is that Israel is asking for 40 hostages from a series of categories including women, female soldiers, men over 50 and men with health issues. Hamas has claimed that there are not 40 hostages still alive from those categories. Word of this has been circulating on X:

However, according to the Axios report, Israel believes Hamas is telling the truth.

The senior Israeli officials say they believe that is accurate and that a single-digit number of hostages from other categories would be needed to reach the release of 40 hostages.

Israel proposed Hamas close the gap with soldiers or men under the age of 50 being held as hostages and Israel would release a higher number of Palestinian prisoners for each of these hostages, the officials said.


It seems simple enough. Hamas doesn't have 40 women and older male hostages, so just release enough men to bring the total to 40. Apparently that didn't go over well with Hamas. Their representatives were meeting separately with the intermediaries from Qatar and Egypt but today they left Cairo to confer with their leadership back home. They proclaimed the new proposal a setback.

“The proposal is a setback compared to previous negotiated proposals, and it can’t be considered a starter for a cease-fire agreement,” said Basem Naim, who said the talks are “on hold,” but stopped short of saying the proposal had been rejected.

Hamas negotiators left Cairo on Monday after indirect meetings with an Israeli negotiating team there over the weekend. In Israel, the country’s war cabinet is scheduled to meet Tuesday, reportedly to discuss the latest round of talks.

Naim, the Hamas official, did not explain why the current proposal qualifies as a setback.

Hamas has been demanding a path to a "comprehensive ceasefire" rather than one with an expiration date. Israel has never offered that unless Hamas surrenders. Obviously that's not going to happen but Israel does seem to be hinting that it's war against Hamas is changing gears. Yesterday it announced it was withdrawing most of its troops from Gaza with an attack on Rafah still coming at some point in the future.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that its 98th commando division, which consists of special ground forces, had “concluded its mission” in the city of Khan Younis and left Gaza “to recuperate and prepare for future operations.” The Nahal brigade, made up of ground troops stationed along a corridor that divides northern and southern Gaza, would continue to operate, the army said.

The drawdown announcement Sunday seemed to mirror a withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza City earlier this year, after the army said it had dismantled Hamas brigades in the north and was pivoting to more targeted operations.

“The war in Gaza continues, and we are far from stopping,” Herzi Halevi, IDF chief of the general staff, said in a statement Sunday. “We will not leave any Hamas brigades active — in any part of the Gaza Strip. We have plans and will act when we decide.”


Hamas wants to end the war so it can declare it's survival as a sign of victory. The US is pressuring Israel to back off because Joe Biden's chance at reelection could hinge on how long this conflict drags on. But I don't think Israel is going to stop, not so long as there are hostages in Gaza and not so long as Hamas is still running things. I don't think a comprehensive ceasefire is in the cards this time but we'll have to wait and see what Israel thinks.

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